Ahh, problematic overgrown shrubs . . . There is often a tendency to want to clear and tidy up the garden – cut bushes and shrubs down into manageable shapes. I can think of many an old person’s once glorious show of tall elegant shrubs, now criminally cut down to strange and very unnatural oblongs or rectangular blobs on their trunks. It’s generally to stop the shrub from getting too big to manage and to stop the leaf drop in autumn. I can’t bear this effect – the gardens look very odd and the shrubs themselves lose all their personality. The birds are none to pleased either as this vicious clipping back to bare bones removes all their safety cover. There are ways of gardening that can keep shrubs and bushes from getting out of hand – just a regular clipping back in winter to stop anything growing too far from reach, taking out the lowest branches will make it look less dense in the undergrowth.